Certainty in all things
The boy who gave you comics
Folded under his sweater
In the courtyard where his chessboard
Gleamed with its pieces
Stolen from surrealism,
His face blurs but you think
It looked like the average taken
Of all other features,
Mathematically perfect in this.
You are bouncing a rubber ball
You spent a quarter on from a machine.
You do this and simultaneously
Chew five pieces of gum to reset your jaw
Whenever you feel
Some movement too big to contain.
After this your dad will ask you
To hold the board straight as he saws it
For a treehouse he’ll never finish.
You keep jarring the board an inch out of whack,
And he keeps pretending
He doesn’t know why.
A year later you’ll stand in the courtyard
Smoking something low and sweet
That keeps you from moving
As long as you need to.
Only in the woods he wears
His butterfly-winged purple peacoat.
Daubs of eyeliner he’s drawn on
Floating up at the ends
Like blades of grass
That mama always said pointed straight
To heaven, standing at attention.
Birches in the hollow whisper his name
And pluck at his arms and skin.
He has nailed here
Secret shards of mirror,
A thing that to be broken will grind you
To its own dust first.
And the collars have come on all the trees.
Their stone eyes laugh with his own
As he stretches, pliés,
Winnows himself the width of ribbon
Tied on a branch.
Disappearing with you
Has never been easier than it is today,
While the wind makes bones
Of our summer bulbs,
While the blades of me stretch taut
As wire you use to climb across,
Passing between two buildings of glass.
This is not the day we were promised
To construct out of needle
And counterpoint, those years ago
Across which I stare out
Like seeing a lake behind your eyes.
We were promised
There would be fruit and fire,
A long tail of smoke to snuff out this night,
This waver of which you seem
Unaware, leaving me dancing here
Stuck between worlds,
Thin and breakable as a word.
is a writer and artist living in Brooklyn. Her poems have been nominated for three Pushcarts, and have appeared in Plum Tree Tavern, Bangor Literary Review, and The Oddville Press, among others. Her work is forthcoming in The Metaworker, Big Windows Review, and EcoTheo Review, among others.